Kansas holds Ag Growth Summit

Joplin Area Coronavirus

KANSAS — Kansas farmers are tasked with keeping the food supply high during a global pandemic.

Meat processing plants have been hit hard by coronavirus outbreaks in the state, and industry leaders are trying to prevent the virus from spreading again.

Because of the pandemic hundreds of farmers and officials are meeting virtually at the state Department of Agriculture’s largest event – the Ag Growth Summit.

Meat and grain processors are sharing how they’re promoting masks, putting barriers between workers up, and trying to prevent people from gathering in large groups.

Jarrod Gillig, Cargill Protein, said, “We continue to learn, what is the active role of a mask and a face shield, what is we’ve talked about the barriers, what can we do different, how can we make sure we’re looking at traffic patterns, we continue to challenge ourselves, where we’re at today is not good enough, and we’re going to keep challenging ourselves as we move forward.”

Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman also attended the meeting.

He highlighted that businesses should work with community leaders to emphasize employees need to be safe outside of the workplace.

Secretary Lee Norman, Dept of Health & Environment, said, “To the degree that we can push down the infectiousness in communities, and push down the number of cases in communities, you’re businesses are going to benefit from that, so do not think you’re businesses are an island.”

Norman says the spread of the virus will get worse as we enter the Fall and Winter.

So agriculture officials are trying to be prepared to production doesn’t have to slow down.

Sec Mike Beam, Dept of Agriculture, said, “What’s the next wave look like, we’ve learned some things, we’ve installed some practices but it’s not over, we can’t let our guard down, we’ve got to, we’ve got to be thinking about how do we plan ahead for another wave of this if it happens.”

The summit will conclude on Thursday when farmers and industry leaders will hear from Governor Kelly as well as a federal official about national issues.

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